© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons


459 RAAF Squadron


Alex Thomas McKinnon - Navigator


Service No. 417216



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Alex McKinnon


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Date of Birth : 3 May 1923

Place of Birth : Eudunda, South Australia

Date of Enlistment : 31 Jan 1942

Place of Enlistment : Adelaide

Date of Discharge : 30 Jan 1946

Rank : Flying Officer


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The following information has been supplied by Alex McKinnon's son - Peter McKinnon - in March 2006


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Alex McKinnon enlisted in the RAAF in Adelaide in January 1942 and did his early Air Force training at Fort Brecken Victor Harbour South Australia, Mount Gambier SA, Port Pirie SA, N Hill Victoria before leaving on the "Westport" for San Francisco California USA en-route to Vancouver and Prince Edward Island in Canada for navigator training on arctic flying.  From here he went to Brighton UK and was then sent to the Middle East, St Jean (Palestine) then posted to 459 Squadron Benghazi in Libya. He flew 28 missions out of Al Berka.  Most of the missions were over islands such as Melos, Syros, Crete, Piscopi and Rhodes.


The crew:


Ken Crook - (Pilot)

Alex McKinnon - (Navigator)

Murray Weaver - (Wireless Operator)

Mick Hunter - (Air Gunner)

Standing: L-R:  Mick Hunter and Murray Weaver

Seated:  L-R: Ken Crook and Alex McKinnon



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Alex's 21st in the UK, Pat Ryan Centre


 L - R : Ken Crook Pilot, Mick Hunter Gunner, Murray Weaver Wireless, Alex McKinnon Navigator


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459 Squadron sign at Benghazi


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Baltimore flown by Ken Crook and crew on airstrip at Benghazi


Flight formation


Air crew with Bert Lee (second from right -- Alex thinks)


Pyramid's of Egypt

L to R Tim Greenup, Guide, Lofty Williams, Alex McKinnon


Palestine Railway Transport

L to R: W/O Mick Hunter, W/O McNeill, W/O K. Crook


George Turmaine's wedding UK, Alex McKinnon best man



After the War Dad returned to South Australia and married Peggy Bidgood in September, 1946.  They lived in Norwood before building a war service house in North Plympton, SA (south western suburb of Adelaide).  They shifted into this house in 1951 and still live in the same house today.



Dad and Mum had four children (all boys) born in 1947, 1948, 1950, 1958. 


Dad returned to work at South Australian Brush Company (SABCO) after the War and progressed to National Sales Manager, Managing Director and then Chairman  before retiring in 1987, having worked 47 years for the company. 


Dad was also involved as Chairman of the Plympton Primary School Committee, Chairman of the Wiegal Oval Trust, and worked many years with Legacy assisting war service families post war.  During his career Dad made many overseas trips, mainly to UK and Canada.



Dad followed Australian Rules football in Adelaide supporting Norwood and The Adelaide Crows and in recent years he and Mum have followed horse racing going to mid week (regional) and weekend (metropolitan) meetings as well as attending the odd cricket match at Adelaide Oval.  Dad was a social golfer, but never really mastered the intricate skills of this game! 


Dad still drives and is a competent driver (and navigator still) and this mobility allows him and Mum to get around to their grandchildren's sporting  venues, (football, cricket, baseball, soccer) and artistic music, singing and acting) events.  There are eight grandchildren (4 boys and 4 girls).



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Alex and his son Peter


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The following was recently emailed to our association

by Alex's son Peter:


"My name is Peter McKinnon, I am a son of Alex McKinnon who was a navigator in 459 squadron as part of the air crew of Ken Crook (pilot), Alex McKinnon (navigator), Murray Weaver (wireless operator), and a tail gunner Mick Hunter from WA. All except the tail gunner are still alive:



Ken Crook now lives in UK; was a pilot with Qantas for many years after the war.



Alex McKinnon retired lives in North Plympton SA



Murray Weaver retired lives in Cheltenham Vic. (in the same street as my father's brother, quite a coincidence). 



Dad has many photos; I will scan the best and send across to you with whatever stories I can get attached to them."


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Thank you Peter for contributing the scanned photos, as you can see we've made good use of them on the site.

Alex aged 80

Alex Thomas McKINNON